July 6, 2010

Rocket Scientist and Pilot Use History-in-the-Making to Promote Business in Jacksonville (Source: FL Times Union)
As customers dug into bowls of frozen yogurt at Mr. Yogato in Jacksonville, they watched a rocket launch into space on a large screen in front of them. "This is the future," said Lyle Young, a resident orthopedic surgeon at Shands Jacksonville hospital. "These are important days," he said. "It's like when Henry Ford built his Model T."

The 20-minute film featured a recent test launch of a commercial SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. The film, which had never been shown in public, was shown at the frozen yogurt store at 1232 Beach Blvd. because one of the store's owners, John Couluris, is a rocket scientist who works for SpaceX.

Couluris makes frequent trips to Cape Canaveral and when he's in Florida, stops by Mr. Yogato to spend some time working behind the counter. The store will show the rocket film again at 9 p.m. Saturday. It is not available for viewing anywhere else, not even on the Internet, so customers who are interested in learning more about space exploration are welcome, Couluris said. (7/6)

Race Car Rockets Down KSC’s Runway (Source: CFL-13)
The space shuttle isn't the only vehicle that gets to rocket down the runway at the Kennedy Space Center. NASCAR driver Matt DiBenedetto streaked down the runway at 205 miles an hour recently to test the aerodynamics in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. DiBenedetto's speed was just shy of the space shuttle's touchdown speed. Engineers said the results from their tests will help them tweak race car design, which could mean the difference between a tenth place car and a top three car. (7/6)

JAXA Releases Pictures of Dust Found in Hayabusa Capsule (Source: Mainichi Daily News)
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has released photographs of fine particles found in a sample capsule released by the Hayabusa asteroid probe on its return to Earth. If the particles are from the near-Earth asteroid Itokawa, it will be the first time in human history that materials from an asteroid have ever been collected and brought home. (7/6)

White House, NASA, Defend Outreach to Muslim World Criticized by Conservatives (Source: ABC)
The White House and NASA today defended comments by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden about reaching out to the Muslim world – comments that conservatives criticized as undermining NASA’s mission. This was part of President Obama’s desire, as stated in his Cairo address last year, to begin a new chapter in the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world, Bolden said.

Bolden told Al Jazeera that this mission had nothing to do with diplomacy, but rather was rooted in expanding US outreach for tangible reasons. The international space station, he said, is a conglomerate of 15-plus nations, including the Russians and Japanese. Bolden said his mission to the Muslim world is a “matter of trying to reach out and try to get the best of all worlds.” No nation will make it to Mars on its own, he said.

But the comments have caused a kafuffle. Former NASA administrator Michael Griffin called Bolden’s stated charge for NASA a “perversion of NASA’s purpose.” A NASA assistant administrator said “Bolden understands that NASA's core mission is exploration, both in space and in scientific endeavors here at home. Inherent to the success of that mission is cooperation and collaboration with other nations which are equally committed to this effort, including expanding the range of countries with which NASA engages and partners.” (7/6)

United Space Alliance to Reduce Workforce by 15 Percent (Source: USA)
United Space Alliance will layoff about 15 percent of its current Space Shuttle workforce, effective October 1, 2010, in order to align the workforce level with the company's Space Shuttle Program Operations Contract work scope and current budget. Two missions remain in the Space Shuttle Program – STS-133 currently scheduled for no earlier than November 1, 2010, and STS-134 set for February 26, 2011. (7/6)

Space Forum Seeks To Save Jobs (Source: WESH)
Business leaders in Brevard County are scrambling to come up with ways to save a region struggling with fewer jobs and little growth. They hope to turn the obstacle into an opportunity. The government has put $40 million worth of potential grants and loans on the table and challenged Brevard County leaders to come up with ideas of how to use the money to save the region.

"There's no silver bullet for the loss of 7,000 jobs," Space Florida's Frank DiBello said. Innovation ought to be easy for some of the best and brightest at Kennedy Space Center, but a meeting on Tuesday sought to convince Washington the right ideas are on the table to keep space workers employed locally in jobs other than the space program.

It's not the first time the Space Coast has faced trouble. "We've been trying the same thing for years and years and years. Apollo ends, our community is devastated. The Challenger accident happens, the community is devastated. Now, the shuttle ends. We've got to do something different," Titusville City Council member Paul Secor said. (7/6)

Lockheed Cuts Exec Ranks as Pentagon Seeks Savings (Source: AP)
Lockheed Martin is moving to trim its executive ranks as the Pentagon, its biggest customer, pressures defense contractors to cut overhead costs on huge weapons programs. Lockheed is offering directors and vice presidents financial incentives to leave voluntarily by Feb. 1. The nation's largest defense contractor did not say how many employees qualify for the buyout or are expected to leave the company under the program. (7/6)

Lawmaker Says NASA Plan Isn’t Helping Recovery (Source: Space News)
As the White House embarks on a summer road tour to promote its economic recovery efforts, Republican lawmakers are criticizing President Barack Obama’s plan to scrap the nation’s Moon program and the thousands of highly skilled jobs that could be lost as a result. In a July 2 letter to U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) said Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package signed into law in February 2009 had done little to stem job losses in Texas and other states hit by the ailing economy.

The White House estimates that through March of this year, the stimulus package saved or created as many as 2.8 million jobs. But Olson asserts Obama’s plan to scrap NASA’s Constellation program, a 5-year-old effort to replace the retiring space shuttle with new rockets and spacecraft optimized for lunar missions, threatens as many as 30,000 jobs across the country, including Houston, home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. (7/6)

Proposals Vie for $40 Million to Provide Space Coast Jobs (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
With $40 million in federal grants on the table, Space Coast entrepreneurs, companies and local government agencies had no shortage of proposals Tuesday of how spend it to bring jobs to an already-struggling region that is bracing for deep NASA cuts. One company wanted federal money to help build high-efficiency cars in Brevard County. Another sought money to make high-efficiency light bulbs. A third wants to see an international space, Earth and oceanic science think tank developed at Kennedy Space Center.

USA pitched four proposals for testing or refurbishing military equipment for the Department of Defense, using a big space-shuttle parts depot in Cape Canaveral that it now runs for NASA. The company sought between $1 million and $4 million for each of the programs, saying each could provide between 100 and 400 jobs.

Several other companies offered a wide variety of ideas and proposals. Click here to view the article. (7/6)

A Change in Tone in National Space Policy (Source: Space Review)
Last week the White House released a new national space policy. Jeff Foust reports on how the new policy reflects as much a change in tenor as a change in substance over previous policies. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1660/1 to view the article. (7/6)

A New Debate (Source: Space Review)
For the last several months the space community has been gripped by the debate on the future of NASA's human spaceflight program. Bob Clarebrough argues that it may be better to debate exactly what role NASA should play in a future with expanded commercial space capabilities. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1659/1 to view the article. (7/6)

About Those Scrapped Atlas ICBMs (Source: Space Review)
Wayne Eleazer follows up a recent article on the use of suplus ICBMs as launch vehicles by discussing what happened to one class of ICBMs that were particularly desirable as launchers. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1658/1 to view the article. (7/6)

Does a Moonbase Make for a Good Video Game? (Source: Space Review)
A new videogame out today, developed in cooperation with NASA, transports players to a moonbase 15 years from now. Jeff Foust checks out the game and its effectiveness in inspiring a new generation of scientists and engineers. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1657/1 to view the article. (7/6)

Rebuttal to "The EMP Threat: Fact, Fiction, and Response" (Source: Space Review)
William Radasky and Peter Vincent Pry, who served on the EMP Commission, respond to an article earlier this year that argued that solar storms pose a greater EMP threat than nuclear weapons. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1656/1 to view the article. (7/6)

Hispasat Orders Another Satellite from Loral (Source: Space News)
Spanish satellite fleet operator Hispasat has contracted with Space Systems/Loral to build the Amazonas 3 telecommunications satellite to be launched in late 2012 into Hispasat’s 61 degrees west orbital slot for broadcasts in the Americas and Europe. It is the second consecutive Hispasat satellite to be built by Loral. Amazonas 3 will carry 33 Ku- and 19 C-band transponders and is scheduled to replace the Amazonas 1 satellite at the 61-degree slot. (7/6)

When the Moon Hits Your Eye, It's Always the Same Old Scene (Source: Washington Post)
If you moved to the moon, you'd have to choose between two basic types of real estate. To property owners living in one hemisphere, Earth would at all moments be visible overhead, forever suspended in the sky. From properties in the opposite hemisphere, Earth would be perpetually hidden below the horizon, never to be seen. Lunar Realtors would, of course, call the former "Earth-view properties." The latter they might advertise as having "No planetary neighbors in sight!"

These stark zoning difference between the moon's hemispheres may seem pretty strange to earthlings. We're used to witnessing both the sun and the moon rise and set daily. But here's a subtler weirdness you might have never thought about: Although the moon cycles through phases -- going from new to full and back again -- it always puts the same side, the same face, toward us. The "man in the moon" may be easiest to see when the moon is full, but his shadowy visage always peers at us, even when only a sliver of it is illuminated.

In the argot of planetary scientists, the moon is "tidally locked" to Earth. Tidal locking is thought to be common throughout the galaxy, and it can affect both how a moon orbits its planet and how a planet orbits its star. Over eons, the larger body's gravitational tug exerts a slight but steady braking effect on whatever spin the smaller partner starts with, until eventually the smaller partner's rotation falls into synchrony with the larger. (7/6)

Norway Resorts to Ship-Watching From Space (Source: BBC)
Norway's coastline is huge. The mainland's rim stretches for more than 2,500km but if you measure it to include all the fjords and nooks and crannies, it comes out at more than 25,000km. Little wonder then that the Scandinavian nation relies heavily on satellites to help it monitor what's going on around its territory.

And it has a fascinating mission launching in the next few days that will enable it to keep even better watch on its waters. AISSat-1 is what's termed a cubesat. It's a small cube measuring 20cm along the square and weighing just 6kg, but it carries a clever little instrument. (7/6)

Moonlighting Good for NASA Engineer (Source: Florida Today)
After 23 years working in the space industry, Titusville native Tim Crannell has put his "Plan B" into effect. When he loses his job with the shuttle program he will have another place to work.

While keeping his day job at United Space Alliance, the 47-year-old flight hardware engineer started his own company to build and test flight hardware for the commercial spaceflight companies that seem destined to take over America's space industry.

His Orion Aersospace LLC been retained to build flight hardware by Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas, which has orbited two space habitats, which are small, inflated, fabric capsules where astronauts could live, and plans to launch others. Crannell expects to build flight hardware for Bigelow and is seeking similar work from other commercial space companies. (7/6)

Saudi Scientists to Visit India to Seek ISRO’s Cooperation (Source: The Hindu)
A delegation of scientists from Saudi Arabia are set to visit India to ink an agreement with space agency ISRO for boosting cooperation that will help the country develop an indigenous space program. The Saudi delegation, comprising of the country’s leading scientists will visit the India Space Research Organization later this month.

The agreement to boost cooperation in space science is in line with a MoU signed between the two countries’ space agencies during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Riyadh earlier this year. The visit of Saudi scientists would pave the way for a cooperation that will help Riyadh develop its indigenous space programme for peaceful purposes, an Arab daily reported. (7/6)

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